Boehmeria nivea (L.) Gaudich.

Last updated: 21 April 2015

Scientific Name

Boehmeria nivea (L.) Gaudich.


Boehmeria candicans Hassk., Boehmeria juncea Bedevian [Invalid], Boehmeria nipononivea Koidz., Boehmeria tenacissima Gaudich., Boehmeria thailandica Yahara, Boehmeria utilis André, Procris nivea Wedd. [Invalid], Ramium niveum (L.) Kuntze, Urtica nivea L. [1]

Vernacular Name


Rami, rami-rami [2][3]


Ramie, rhea, china grass [2], madame parquet, ramie grass [2]


Zhu ma [3]


Haramay (Sundanese); Rami [2][3]


Po-paan (Central); po-bo (Northern); taan khamoi (Southeastern) [2][3]


Pan [2][3]


Amirai, li­pang-a so (Tagalog); labnis (Ilokano) [2]


Thmey [2][3]


c[aa]y gai [2], name [3]


Ramie [2][3].

Geographical Distributions

Boehmeria nivea is probably originates in western and central China. [2]

Botanical Description

B. nivea is a member of the family Urticaceae [1]. It is a monoecious, erect, fast-growing perennial herb or small shrub that can reach 1-2(-3) m tall, with long rhizome and tuberous storage roots [2].

The stem is usually unbranched and hollow, 8-16 mm in di­ametre, initially green and hairy, brown­ish and woody. The inner bark layer yields the ramie fibre. [2]

The leaves are arranged alternate, simple and with 3 prominent basal veins. The stipules are axillary, connate at base, lin­ear-lance-shaped and measure up to 1.5 cm long. The petiole is 6-12 cm long and pubescent. The blade is broadly ovate, triangular to suborbicular, measuring 7-20 cm x 4-18 cm, with wedge-shaped to subcordate base, with coarsely dentate to dentate­-serrate or crenate margin, abruptly long­acuminate at apex, green and scabrid above, hairless and green or white appressed-pubescent below. [2]

The inflorescence is an axillary, racemose and measures 3-8 cm long. Each branch bears several crowded or well-separated clusters of unisexual flowers. The male clusters are small and usually with 3-10 flowers while the fe­male clusters are larger and usually with 10-30 flowers. The male flower is short pedicelled, with 3-5 ­lobed perianth, with stamens as many as lobes and incurved with persistent rudiment of pistillode. The female flower is sessile, with tubular perianth, 2-4-lobed, green­ish to pinkish, pistil with 1-celled ovary with one ovule, with exserted style, slender and hairy on one side and with slender stigma. [2]

The fruit is a nearly globular to ovoid achene, about 1 mm in diametre, enclosed by the persistent perianth, hairy, crustaceous and brown­ yellow. [2]

The seed is nearly globular to ovoid, slightly less than 1 mm in diametre and dark brown. [2]


B. nivea has been cultivated in China since antiquity. Cultivation spread from China to other Asian countries. B. nivea plants and products were brought to Europe in the 18th Century and experi­mental plantings were established in many tropi­cal, subtropical and temperate countries. With the advent of synthetic fibres, however, the cultiva­tion of B. nivea plummeted though it is still grown in many tropical and subtropical countries, in­cluding the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. It has oc­casionally escaped from cultivation and naturalised. [2]

It is grown at average temperatures ranging from 20°C dur­ing the cropping season in temperate regions to 28°C in the tropics. Frost may destroy the rhi­zomes; this can be prevented by mulching with leaves or compost. B. nivea re­quires a minimum of 100-140 mm rainfall per month. Short days promote flowering and ramie tolerates partial shade. For optimal fibre production, B. nivea requires rich, well-drained, sandy loams, with a pH of 5.5-6.5 (4.8-5.6 for peat soils). With heavy manuring, it can also be grown on less favourable soil types. B. nivea is extremely sensitive to waterlogging. [2]

In Philippine experiments, it was most sensitive to flooding immediately after cutting and least sensi­tive during the middle vegetative stage (20 days after cutting). The duration of flooding significant­ly affected the height, stem weight and dry fibre yield, but had no significant effect on the fineness or diametre of the fibre. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of B. nivea (L.) Gaudich.[2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Boehmeria nivea (L.) Gaudich.[homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 26; cited 2015 Apr 17]. Available from:
  2. Boehmeria nivea (L.) Gaudich. In: Brink M, Escobin RP, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 17: Fibre Plants. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers; 2003.
  3. Philippine medicinal plants. Ramie. Boehmeria nivea Linn. [homepage on the Internet]. c2014 [updated 2013 May; cited 2015 Apr 16].